Tornado Warning

We all have things we especially and even irrationally fear. In my case, from early childhood I feared tornadoes. I dreamed about them several times a year, even though Georgia wasn’t part of Tornado Alley.

I’m sure Dr. Freud would have an explanation, but I figure it was just a premonition, since I actually lived through a tornado in 2000 in central Virginia (another unlikely spot). It arrived and departed, after knocking off the roof and destroying some huge trees and a barn, so fast I never had time to freak. But the dreams went away.

In any event, I was glad my fear of twisters had subsided upon reading a WaPo piece by Angela Fritz today indicating that while the number of tornadoes in the U.S. is relatively stable, they now are increasingly likely to be bunched together in weather disasters. So once the hellfire has been released, it could hit all sorts of places simultaneously, which is a particular problem for emergency managers that might have to handle more than one.

Fritz reports we’re not really sure what’s causing this phenomenon, but:

Few studies have tackled that question head-on. But one in particular, led by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, found that as the Arctic warms faster than the rest of the northern hemisphere, it leads to changes in the jet stream — most notably, that its troughs and ridges may become more extreme and persistent. And the jet stream is the main driver of severe storms.

Warming? Nah. That’s a myth. After all, it snowed a lot last year.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.